SEC trying out the business information officer

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Drawing parallels between the business and IT needs of an organization is an area that many CIOs consider part of their portfolio. At the Securities and Exchange Commission, CIO Thomas Bayer is using best practices from his private-sector career to place key people in charge of managing the business side of IT.

Enter the business information officer.

The idea is one Bayer borrowed from his time at Capital One. Business information officers, who are 50 percent IT-oriented and 50 percent business-oriented, can acquire whatever resources they need to meet their division's and office's needs, Bayer said.

"Because they're tied into the overall architecture, the enterprise architecture and our data modeling, they also make sure that we aren't developing stovepiped applications for the divisions and offices," Bayer said. "They handle all the [spending] for those divisions from a technology perspective. They acquire the services, and they also leverage in-house [resources] or they go outboard and get the resources to meet our customers' needs."

Bayer said business information officers speed up the time to market and develop better relationships with customers. "Our job is to facilitate both our technology that we're trying to do from an enterprise perspective as well as things that the business end is trying to develop," he added.

That's not the only thing Bayer has been doing to get the SEC up to tech speed since he joined the agency in 2010. That was around the time that Boston Consulting Group conducted a review of the SEC, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and found that the agency was not doing a good job of interacting with its customers.

The SEC's Technology Center of Excellence, launched in 2011, is the result of one of the group's recommendations. The center has developed a multiyear technology strategy based on input from SEC offices and divisions.

"The people we have oversight for spend billions of dollars in order to keep their technology current, so we need the same level of technology that they have," Bayer said. "So we try to leverage their ideas as well as internal ideas of how we can face off to the market better."

According to a 2012 SEC report, the center promotes better communication among the commission's divisions and offices, including the Office of IT, to jointly manage key initiatives, including efforts to modernize and the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

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